“Color Me Barfy!”
I sat nervously in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car, clad in a white t-shirt and a white headband that read RAD across the top. We pulled into Redmond’s Marymoor Park and joined countless other cars in a caravan to the parking lot for the “Color Me RAD” 5k that was taking place.
“Color me barfy,” I breathed to my bestie, who was in much better spirits than I was.
This was our very first official 5k run. Even though I actively played sports growing up, I never consciously tried to run more than a mile. Ever. That whole morning I had felt nauseous. The kind of nauseous you get when you’re nervous about something. But the truth is, I’m not sure why I was nervous because 1) I’ve been runnng 5k’s 3-4 times a week, anyway; And 2) This shit wasn’t even going to be timed!
Color Me RAD, for those of you who don’t know, is a 5k run in which you get color thrown on you at various points in the run. It comes in the form of colored cornstarch, but they also have check points that spray you with colored water, too. It is not timed. There is no winner, and no loser. It’s just meant to be fun. There’s an announcer at the starting line that you can hear at almost all points of the run and music playing. Overall, it’s a good time. A party, practically.
At the start line, we were showered with pink powder but running from the start line I looked down and noticed I had practically no pink on me. Bummer.
We came to a point where they were spraying liquid color. Green. Not a color I cared about yet I still got doused with plenty. Then we hit purple. I ran close to the “color bombers” with my hands in the air…but definitely didn’t get enough purple. So hardly any pink or purple. And a lot of green. Damn. (note, if it were like, neon or even lime green, I would have been happy but it was just lame green).
By the time we hit the next color bombing I was still in “I WANT ALL THE COLOR” mode. I started jogging faster, trying to get ahead of the group in front of me but my bestie calmly put her hand out “no, wait, slow down!” Apparently, giving the bombers time to color-up and keeping ourselves evenly paced behind everyone meant plenty of orange for us. Okay, okay. I think I got it now…
The next checkpoint was liquid yellow. The people at this station had no problem spraying it all over me and my face but again, not a color I wanted a lot of (I learned you can’t be picky about color at this thing…). But who wants to look like they just got peed on? Anyway…
Then came the finish line. We saw the pink (our favorite color) fog in the air and knew we had to get as much of that as we could. Just before we hit the finish line, there was staff handing out color bombs for the GRAND finale. I was hoping for pink but the girl I was closest to was holding out only green and blue. Sigh. Blue it is, I since there weren’t any blue bombing areas.
With the finish line in sight I sprinted as fast as I could through the pink air with overwhelming joy, forgetting the fact that it wasn’t a race and the best way to get color on you is to actually slow down. That obviously went out the window when the realization set in that I had just participated in my first 5k.
The problem was, right as I crossed the finish line I also remembered another reason why sprinting can sometimes be bad. I instantly slowed down and started trying to breathe in clean air. I grabbed my stomach and tried to focus my eyes on one thing as to not confuse my insides. I instantly wanted to puke. Great, I thought to myself, Color me barfy, again!!
I wanted to jump up in the air and be happy but since I felt sick, I searched frantically for water but could only see coconut water everywhere (I’m sorry, but I’m not one of these people on the coconut water train. I hate it. What I hate more is the coconut water slogans that say “Hydrate naturally!” I just want to yell back, HYDRATING “NATURALLY” MEANS DRINKING SOME FREAKING WATER, YOU IDIOTS!)
I finally found some cases of water bottles and broke right into one. Ahh…fresh water. The natural choice.
We then were herded like cattle for the grand finale. With our color bombs in hand, surrounding a dude with a fire extinguisher full of cornstarch color, we all threw our color into the air.
Now, in the pictures, this looks totally awesome but in reality? It just looks like a gray dust cloud. Be sure to keep your mouth closed because if you’re like me, you’ll inhale it all and start coughing uncontrollably instead of jumping around and loving it.
Overall, it was really fun. And I want to do it again! I want to sign up for some more “fun” 5ks before I get a little more serious and getting officially timed and all that (though personally, this was the fastest 5k I’ve run so far). I highly recommend ANYONE of ANY physical shape to do it! You’ll have so much fun and like the announcer wailed out as we approached the starting line — Color me RAD is a gateway drug to all the other runs out there!
Also: I am not at the point in my “running” career where I get the so-called “runners high”. I wish I did, but I haven’t experienced that yet. In fact, my endorphins usually start kicking in about 30 minutes after I’ve exercised. So even though I was so ready to go home after the event, by the time we walked back to the car and started exiting the park I was screaming out the window of the car at the runners “WOOO! KEEP RUNNING YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!!” No one really cared. Except some Vikings (Warrior Dashers).